everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Willing Andable

Launched in Sydney earlier this month, Andable is a new online marketplace to buy and sell unique products. But that’s not all. Their motto is: When you buy, we share – and they donate 10% of each purchase price to help fund a Kiva micro loan. (If you’re not familiar with Kiva’s ‘loans that change lives’, you can check out their website here.) But that’s not all. The Andable site uses a classification system – FRESH – for sellers to mark their products as Fair Trade (or better business practises); Reborn (recycled, upcycled, found objects); Eco-friendly; Supports local business; and/or Handmade. And they sell some cool stuff – from art to clothing to beauty products to accessories to homewares to baby toys.

If you or someone you know has a sweet tooth, but is trying to kick the sugar habit, this might be just the thing – the Strawberry ‘n’ Cream Pendant by Minnette. Handmade in Adelaide, Australia, Minnette’s range also includes jelly babies, raspberries and milk bottles. Just make sure that everyone understands that they’re not real – they’re resin.

Still on the sweet theme, Sophie Farquhar of Bed Toppings in Byron Bay makes amazing sheet sets for kids (little and big). Apparently, Sophie created her range in response to the boring and predictable bed linens that were available in most stores. As a child, Sophie dreamt of sleeping on a giant piece of toast with tin spaghetti doona and buttered sheets. I love this chocolate block sheet set – very Willy Wonka.

And in keeping with the FRESH principles, Marlandia doesn’t sell ordinary footwear – these items have been made in Brazil, from recycled materials, by local women in the slums (favela). Teaching women sewing skills and empowering them to make a living from their craft, this is an inspiring business model. And these shoes will help you to run like a cheetah. (I just made that bit up – it’s not actually specified in the product blurb.)

So, although it’s early days for this new online venture, I have high hopes for Andable. As someone who is always on the lookout for different and interesting gifts, these are made even better by the focus on FRESH and the support of microfinance projects through Kiva. Win-win. Or, as that wise manager Jerry Maguire once said: Help me help you. You can check out the range of gifts at the new Andable site here.

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Ethical Eco Enviro Elephants

By now, I think you will have gathered that I like quirky stuff and love to give quirky gifts. But the downside is that they are all too often made without care for the people who produce them or the environment around them. And we people who have waaay too much stuff say, “Aww, cute” and then shortly thereafter say, “Aww, landfill”.

But we have to give something to that little kid / colleague / neighbour / friend to mark a special occasion, right? And a card telling them that you bought a chicken for a family in South America instead of a present for them doesn’t always go down too well. So I was excited to find these guys on the very cool Australian site Ethical Gifts.

They are animals made in Africa out of recycled flip flops (or thongs, or jandals). Apparently, this idea started back in 1997, when women and children started to collect all of the rubber shoes washing up on the beaches off the northeast coast of Kenya. They turned them into toys, buoys and cushion stuffing. The FlipFlop Project was born.

In 2005, the UniquEco brand was created to expand on the FlipFlop Project and support the local people to clean up their beaches, recycle the rubber, earn an income, and produce fantastic animal friends (and jewellery, keyrings etc) to share with the world.

You can check out the range of gifts at Ethical Gifts here and read more about the story behind UniquEco and the FlipFlop Project here.
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